Here's a shocker: What might've seemed an ill-advised sequel to a surprisingly not-bad little hockey comedy is … surprisingly not bad! In fact, in some ways Goon: Last of the Enforcers actually manages to improve upon its forebear, connecting on jabs at a rate roughly equal to that of the earlier film but this time mixing in some gut punches, too. It does all this, first, by recognizing the strengths of the original Goon, chief among them a kind of provincial humility. If you'd worried that Last of the Enforcers would succumb to the temptation, so typical of sequels, to go bigger, grander, glossier -- say, to strain believability by thrusting lovable-dimwit hero Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott) onto the NHL stage -- fear not. The movie does exactly the inverse, beginning with news of a big-league lockout that has forced some of the top talent down, onto teams in the sticks. Thus does rising star/loose cannon/villain Anders Cain (Wyatt Russell) wind up with the hotshots from Reading, Pa., which becomes fodder for the kind of punchline Goon excels at: The Keystone State burgh, one player on our Halifax Highlanders claims, is populated solely by "translucent Rust Belt weirdos."
That's about right for hockey, whose fans take a certain perverse pride in the sport's fringe appeal -- and who are, as this follow-up never forgets, pretty much the only people who will ever care to see it. But there's also some pointed satire this time around. Any follower of hockey would have to be denser than Dougie not to apprehend how this sequel comments on the troubling state of affairs in the sport.